When I first read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, I wouldn’t have imagined it was published 17 years before I was born. Considering I was 12 years old at the time, the book had been in print more than twice as long as I’d been alive. Yet the book had a timeless feel to it that pulled me into the story and made me feel for the plight of its young heroine.
A Wrinkle in Time has been precious to me ever since that first reading. Not only did I identify with Meg and long for such an adventure, it was the only novel my mom ever recommended to me. She’d read it in her youth and had enjoyed it. Even had I not thoroughly enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time for my own sake, knowing that would have won this novel a special place in my heart.
Last winter, my oldest son turned 12. He was struggling with his reading class, and told me that “books are boring.” Being a writer, I could hardly let that stand. So, this last summer, instead of sending him to summer school to work on his reading there, I implemented a homeschooling program to work on his reading skills. The actual reading part isn’t what Willy struggles with. He can read just fine. But, being autistic and being a visual thinker, Willy struggles with the art of pulling the pertinent parts of what he reads and processing those parts. It doesn’t matter if its fiction or nonfiction; processing the written word for substance is something he struggles with.
The first book we read was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. He, who said books are boring, enjoyed the story so much that he wanted to keep reading the books that followed. We’ve read all four books that were part of the original series. Recently, we finished The Arms of the Starfish and have just started Dragons in the Water. When I first started this plan for Willy, I didn’t realize that An Acceptable Time was considered part of the Wrinkle series, not part of the O’Keefe series. I think, though, that reading the introduction of Poly in The Arms of the Starfish will serve Willy well.
Of course, all this history is very meaningful to me, and may indicate to you how important I find this book to be, but it’s hardly the traditional material of a review, which follows:
Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a young adult novel that captures the struggles of being an oddity in a small community, while exploring a plot that is distinctly science fiction and exploring a theme that is distinctly spiritual. Meg is neither the secret prodigy that her brother Charles Wallace is nor the typical kid that her brothers Sandy and Dennys are. She is something in-between. At 14, Meg lives out that awkward stage between the playful child and the darling beauty. She is something in-between. Distinctly uncomfortable and unhappy, both with herself and her situation, Meg believes everything would be alright if her father were here.
But Dr. Murry is missing.
When three strange creatures are blown into the Murrys’ lives, they just might have found the key to saving their father. But if they are to do so, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (who got pulled into all this by a divine plan that seems, at first, a great mistake) will have to find strength in their faults and show courage in the face of otherworldly dangers. Can they prove that love triumphs over all? Will the fight be worth the cost when the cost seems unbearable?
I recommend this timeless story about family, giftedness, and the will to overcome for goodness’s sake to YA readers 12 and up. Some of the content can be a bit of struggle for younger readers, but the wonderful journey will make the effort worth their while. I especially recommend this book to writers who need a refresher in using simple words and sentence structure to convey worlds of meaning with elegance and approachability.